CHARLES C. ISELY. Through the variety and extent of his interests and his successful handling thereof Charles C. Isely is one of the big Kansans at the present time. His home is at Cimarron, and his business interests are strung all along the great Arkansas Valley as a grain merchant and lumberman. He is president of the C. C. Isely Lumber & Grain Company.
Mr. Isely is a native Kansan and was born near Sabetha May 11, 1875. He is a son of the venerable retired farmer and western pioneer, Christian H. Isely, now of Wichita. Christian H. Isely was born in Canton Berne, Switzerland, and was brought to America in early childhood, in 1831. He grew up in Holmes County, Ohio, which was a copperhead nest during the War of the Rebellion. He first came West in 1849, and in that year he saw what is now the State of Kansas when it was a vast buffalo pasture filled with wild Indians. He was in Brown County as early as 1854, but did not settle there permanently until 1872. During the period of the war he was living at St. Joseph, Missouri, and he enlisted from that point as a Union soldier, being a member of the Second Kansas Cavalry. Through the account of the Second Kansas Cavalry published elsewhere his movements during the war can be followed. After settling permanently in the state he became prominent in politics in Northeastern Kansas as a republican. He was one of the founders of the Kansas State Temperance Union, which played so conspicuous a part in making Kansas a prohibition state. He is a member of the Congregational Church. Christian H. Isely married at St. Joseph, Missouri, Elise DuBach, who was born in Canton Berne, Switzerland, and is now seventy-five years of age. They had a large family of eleven children, seven of whom are still living: M. Alice, of Wichita; Mrs. Lydia I. Wellman, of Wichita; Fred B., of Fayette, Missouri; Charles C.; James W., of Dodge City; Bliss, of Wichita; and Dwight, connected with the United States Bureau of Entomology at Washington. William H., now deceased, was a noted Kansas educator, was dean of Fairmont College at Wichita and as an investigator he compiled many valuable notes on Kansas history.
Mr. Charles C. Isely grew up in the district where he was born, had experiences on his father's farm, and farming was his active calling until after reaching his majority. He attended the country district schools, graduated from Hiawatha Academy in 1897, and from Fairmont College in Wichita in 1902. In 1897 Mr. Isely began teaching in Brown County, and did country school work in that county for several years, until he entered college.
He has been a resident of Western Kansas since 1905. His first lumber experience was with A. C. Houston, of Wichita, as a yard man at Perry, Oklahoma. He then became traveling representative for H. W. Darling, of Wichita, selling cypress lumber for three years and traveling over the states of Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado. In July, 1905, Mr. Isely opened a business of his own at Cimarron under the name of Charles C. Isely & Company, retail lumber. He bought out a former lumber business there, and in July, 1908, his firm was incorporated as the C. C. Isely Lumber Company.
This business has since 1910 built up a large grain trade and now has elevators at Cimarron, Charleston, Deerfield, Jetmore, Hanston, Syracuse, and also a branch yard in Simla, Colorado. The lumber interests comprise yards at Dodge City, Jetmore, Ingalls, Deerfield, Shallow Water and Charleston. Mr. Isley is also a banker, being president of the Simla State Bank in Colorado.
For a number of years he has given much time and attention to other matters than to his business. Mr. Isely is a genius as a business executive and has exercised an almost unerring judgment in the selection of subordinates to look after his large affairs. Some of the interests which identify him with the larger life of the state and the nation are as a member of the Kansas State Committee on Seed Wheat, as organizer in 1911 of a "million bushel wheat club," which resulted in a much greater acreage and larger wheat production in Gray County; president of the Gray County War Council; member of the board of trustees of Fairmont College; and member of the commission on Federal Council of Churches. In politics Mr. Isely has been on of the foremost members of the progressive party in Kansas. He was a delegate to the Chicago convention in 1916, when the bull moose party reunited with the republican organization. He has been one of the men most active in getting Kansas into line in the matter of preparation for the war. In his home town Mr. Isely has served as a councilman and member of the school board. He is an official of the local Methodist Episcopal Church and is secretary of the Southwest Kansas Lay Electoral Conference. After coming to Western Kansas he entered church work actively and has continued it to the present time.
At Wichita, June 15, 1904, he married Miss Almeda E. Cook. Her father, Henry Cook, was born in Michigan and spent several years as a farmer at Enid, Oklahoma. He married Miss Thornton, now deceased, and her children are: John P., of Okmulgee, Oklahoma; Mrs. Isely; Mrs. Bertha Larson, of Clinton, Oklahoma; Mrs. T. C. Green, of St. Louis; and Mrs. May Luther, of Cimarron. Mr. and Mrs. Isely have four children: Charles C., Jr., Elise, Robert and James Thornton.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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